6 user 2 critic

La madre muerta (1993)

A criminal, shoots and kills a painting restorer during a bungled burglary, and shoots her daughter as well. Twenty years later, the daughter has been left mute and with a mental age of a child, spending most of her time in a mental home.


Juanma Bajo Ulloa
12 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Karra Elejalde ... Ismael López de Matauko
Ana Álvarez ... Leire
Lio ... Maite
Silvia Marsó ... Blanca
Elena Irureta Elena Irureta ... Directora del Centro
Ramón Barea ... Night Club Owner
Gregoria Mangas Gregoria Mangas ... Mrs. Millas
Marisol Saes Marisol Saes ... Mother (as Marisol Sáez)
Raquel Santamaría Raquel Santamaría ... Little Leire
Txarly Llorente Txarly Llorente ... Guard
Super Pake Pekao Super Pake Pekao ... Gypsy Man (as Super Pako Pekao)
Elena Armengod Elena Armengod ... Gypsy Woman
Juan Ignacio Viñuales Juan Ignacio Viñuales ... Medic
Miguel Olmeda Miguel Olmeda ... Nurse 1
José María Sacristán José María Sacristán ... Nurse 2 (as José Sacristán)


Ismael Lopez, a petty criminal, shoots and kills a painting restorer during a bungled burglary, and shoots her daughter as well. Twenty years later, and the daughter Leire has been left mute and with a mental age of a child, spending most of her time in a mental home. A chance meeting between Leire and Ismael, who now works in a bar, leads Ismael to think that she still might be able to recognize him, and turn him in to the police. With the help of his girlfriend Maite, he kidnaps Leire and chains her to the bed in his house. He is unable to kill her, however, and instead asks the mental home for a ransom for her return. Whilst a prisoner, though, Leire and Ismael grow closer and closer through his attempts to make her laugh and their mutual love for chocolate. Written by Jonathan Broxton <j.w.broxton@sheffield.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Thriller


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References The Flintstones (1960) See more »


Meet the Flinstones
Written by William Hanna ( as Hanna), Joseph Barbera (as Barbera) and Hoyt Curtin (as Curtin)
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User Reviews

¨Dead mother¨ potently challenges the viewer with impressive images , intense drama and unsettling events
30 August 2013 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Downbeat but excellent film about tragic deeds occur a dim-witted girl and lead a cruel nightmare . Emotive drama , thriller , grim tragedy , and befittingly photographed . It deals with an unfortunate girl , a nasty killer and his fiancée , including engaging interpretation , and acceptable direction . This Spanish picture is an enjoyable story with an interesting characterizing about a few characters , tragic drama and thought-provoking events . The movie caught the attention of the Spanish media and spectators because of its shocking visual style and the crude scenario . It deals with an extremely merciless villain named Ismael Lopez (Karra Elejalde , Bajo Ulloa's fetish actor) and his girlfriend (Lio) . During a botched burglary he kills a mother and hits her daughter who leaves mute and mentally disconnected from the world . Many years later , Leire (Ana Alvarez) is in a health home and with a mental age of a child and Ismael bears the obsession she might identify him, so he decides to abduct her . Ismael carries out the kidnapping and asks the mental institution for a ransom ; but them emerges a strange relationship between the girl and the heartless delinquent , and it becomes a tragic one , driving the final to an inevitable and upsetting tragedy .

This interesting but depressing film contains human drama , thrills , passion , emotion , tragical events , complemented with a colorful cinematography and sensitive musical score . These elements provide the setting for this piece of dramatic deeds , giving it its own special quality and ambient ; making a strong description of a drama inside a couple of tiny delinquents and a mentally weak girl . As in the picture there are machismo , jealousy , depression , death , illness , isolation, and madness . After two years of writing along with his brother Eduardo ; Alejandro Ulloa directed this his second long movie . This film along with ¨Butterfly wings¨ or ¨Alas de Mariposa¨ forms a splendid diptych in which stands out its darkness , gloomy environment and deep drama , both of them were shot in Vitoria ; however his third film ¨Airbag¨ disappointed some of his longtime buffs who preferred the obscurity of his first movies . Top-notch protagonist trio , Karra Elejalde , Ana Alvarez and Lio , all of them give fine acting . The storyline relies heavily on the continued relationship among them but it doesn't make boring , however the film sometimes is slow moving . Karra Elejalde as a relentless murderous is awesome . The young girl played by Ana Alvarez is marvelous with her sweet and enjoyable countenance , but also bears excessive gesticulation . Good support cast formed by a plethora of notorious Spanish actors such as Silvia Marso as a good girl , Elena Irureta as Director woman and Ramon Barea as Night Club Owner . Emotive as well as thrilling musical score by Bingen Mendizabal . In addition , a spotless pictorial cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe and a willingness , almost perfect of the elements of each shot , every sequence , every space . Aguirresarobe subsequently would make a prestigious career in Hollywood such as ¨Fright night , ¨The twilight saga: eclipse¨, ¨The road¨ , ¨The others¨ and many others . Splendidly filmed on location in Vitoria , Pais Vasco , where the same director was born and lives .

Juanma Bajo Ulloa is a good but little prolific filmmaker and with "La Madre Muerta" won prizes in several Festivals like Venice and Montreal . In 1989 he filmed his first movie in 35 mm , "The kingdom of Victor" that won the Goya of the Spanish academy to the best short movie . His first long film was the successful ¨Butterfly wings¨ in which appears a brief cameo by Karra Elejalde as a neighbour , this movie achieved numerous national and international prizes . As it won 3 Goyas of the Spanish academy , such as best first movie , actress and original screenplay . In 1993, he realized his second picture , ¨La Madre Muerta¨ or ¨Dead mother¨ , considered to be his best by many of his aficionados . As it was released in the Festival of Cine of San Sebastian it won the first prize and subsequently won awards in many international festivals . In 1996, his third movie , "Airbag" , an action road-movie , became the biggest Spanish box-office hit of all time , being a real international success . However this success , he has been unable to make any other movie in the last 8 years . He attempted to adapt the Spanish comic hero "Capitán Trueno" but the producers turned him down , and being finally realized by Antonio Hernandez . Others projects couldn't be financed due to creative differences with producers. In 2004 he filmed in secret, and with his own money, his fourth movie, "Fragil", that will be released in 2005 but was a commercial flop .

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Release Date:

14 January 1994 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dead Mother See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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